The PGA Tour isn’t about to let the upstart Premier Golf League come and poach their top stars lying down as evidenced by a hard-line email sent from Tour commissioner Jay Monahan to the players on Monday.
Reported by Rex Hoggard of GolfChannel.com and Brian Wacker of GolfDigest.com, the letter set a hard line for players that if they were to jump to the Team Golf Concept, publicly known as the PGL, they would have to give up their PGA Tour memberships.
“The schedule for the Team Golf Concept is designed to directly compete and conflict with the PGA Tour’s FedExCup schedule, and to not conflict with the Masters, PGA Championship, U.S. Open and The Open Championship,” Monahan’s letter read.
As previously reported, the PGA Tour only allows three conflicting event “releases,” a sort of quid pro quo that enables Tour members to play in events during PGA Tour tournament weeks in exchange for commitments to other events. Monahan’s letter to members referenced “strict enforcement of the Conflicting Event and Media Rights/Release rules.”
PGA Tour commissioner Jay Monahan told players that if another tour came to fruition, players would have a choice to make.
— Golf Central (@GolfCentral) January 28, 2020
Additionally, Monahan reminded players that Tour regulations forbid a member from having a financial interest in another player, which is a key component of the PGL’s Formula One team-inspired player-ownership model.
“If the Team Golf Concept or another iteration of this structure becomes a reality in 2022 or at any time before or after, our members will have to decide whether they want to continue to be a member of the PGA Tour or play on a new series,” Monahan wrote.
Playing into players’ skepticism, Monahan relayed that a bulk of the PGL backing is “funding from Saudi interests” and “we understand that Team Golf Concept is focused on securing player commitments first as they have no sponsorship or media offerings or rights,” despite acknowledging that the PGA Tour hasn’t had any contact with those in charge at the PGL.
Wacker reported that a member of the Tour’s 12-man Player Advisory Council told him, “(The PGL) will never happen.”
However, Wacker went on to write that Rory McIlroy’s assertion last week at the Farmers Insurance Open that the PGL could be “catalyst for some changes” on the PGA Tour that would result in the most popular players in the game, those being targeted by the PGL, potentially receiving a bigger piece of the pie.